Wild rice is not really rice at all – it is actually an edible type of grass. A few weeks ago, I sent my husband to the supermarket to buy some wild rice, expecting that he would return with a package of rice mixed with parboiled wild rice which only needs to be cooked for 10 minutes. Instead, what he brought back was a bag of shiny black wild rice on its own. I saw the cooking time (45 minutes!), and shoved it into the back of the pantry.
The wild rice resurfaced from the pantry the other day while I was searching for some chickpeas, and I decided to try making a salad with it. I paired it with a cranberry salad dressing (I also found a jar of cranberry sauce while foraging for the chickpeas). I added walnuts to the salad because I think that cranberries and walnuts go so well together, plus walnuts are an excellent and easy source of omega-3 fatty acids (vital for brain function, and reducing symptoms of hypertension, depression, and joint pain).
This is quite a hearty salad and goes really nicely with chicken or turkey dishes.
WILD RICE SALAD WITH CRANBERRY DRESSING
(Serves 6-8 as a side dish)
250g/9oz uncooked wild rice (or 500g/18oz cooked wild rice)
100g/3oz feta cheese, diced
2 spring onions/scallions, thinly sliced
1 small or half a large cucumber (roughly 120g/4oz), diced
3-4 Tbsp freshly chopped mint leaves
30g/1oz walnuts, roughly chopped or crushed (optional)
3 Tbsp cranberry sauce/jelly
2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
4 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1-2 tsp Dijon mustard
1-2 generous pinches of salt
Pepper to taste
- If you need to cook your wild rice, rinse it first in water to remove any debris. Bring 900ml/4 cups of water to the boil in a covered pot. Once the water has started boiling, add 2 tsp of salt and 250g/9oz of wild rice into the pot, and let it simmer for 45 minutes. The wild rice is cooked when all the grains have split open. Drain if there is excess water. (Alternatively, follow the instructions on your packaging).
- The wild rice will need to be at room temperature before adding with the rest of the ingredients and dressing.
- Prepare the salad dressing by combining all the dressing ingredients in a jar and shaking well. This makes a nice thick salad dressing.
- Chop the spring onions/scallions, cucumber, mint, walnuts and feta cheese. Set aside until the wild rice is room temperature.
- Once the wild rice is room temperature, pour the dressing on top and combine well. Add all the ingredients (except the walnuts), and fold in carefully.
- Place the salad in a serving bowl/dish, sprinkle the walnuts on top, and refrigerate until you are ready to serve.